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GD’s verdicts – Best of 2008

GD’s verdicts – Best of 2008

31/12/08  ||  Global Domination

On this day, the very last one of the year, we bring you
another one of our respected Best Of lists. Here are all the answers
you’ll ever need when it comes to the most superior albums launched upon
mankind in 2008. Let’s get down to business, bitches.

Facebreaker: Dead, rotten and hungry 1. Facebreaker: Dead, rotten and hungry

Lord K. Philipson (In Fucken Charge):

I actually had to look it up, did this fantastic album come out
in early 2008, or was it late 2007? Considering the weak year when it
comes to excellent albums, I’m so fucken happy Facebreaker launched this monster
in January, 2008. That made the winner of this list so much easier.
Facebreaker’s got something that few other death metal bands got; a
muthafucken insane groove and a vocalist to fucken die for. Robban’s
throat all by itself could make this a fantastic album, but the fact
that he’s backed up by some insane fucken tunes and incredibly memorable
songwriting really set Facebreaker apart from the majority of bands
trying to write death metal. I would even go as far as saying that
Facebreaker is, without a doubt, one of the finest bands on the planet
in this genre. They should be happy that Torture Division don’t release
albums though, or they’d have to settle for second best.

2: In Flames: A sense of purpose

They are big now. And I’m happy for them, as I have pointed out a
million times. They took their rather bland semi death metal from the
first albums and turned it into a well-oiled machine that really hit
home with the masses. It’s not like this is a “new” In Flames, this has
been their sound for quite some fucken time now, you know. And I dig it.
Alot, even. Nope, everything on this album is not excellent (as with
every other IF release), but when they are on the top of their game – In
Flames are very hard to beat at their profession. And that profession
is to deliver memorable metal. Something they did with this one, earning
them the spot for second best album of 2008. Congrats guys.

3: Amon Amarth: Twilight of the thunder god

Seems like everything finally fell into place on this one.
The signature guitar harmonies, the kindergarten riffs, the cheese and
Johan’s grunts are better than ever. I can understand why Germans dig
this, they aren’t exactly known for being rocket scientists, but I have a
hard time figuring out why I like this album as much
as I do. I guess that means Amon Amarth really did some excellent work
this time around. Don’t tell anyone, but I certainly don’t mind. I’m
looking forward to see how the hell they are going to beat this with
their next recording.

4: Bloodbath: The fathomless mastery

1: They pretty much distanced themselves from what made them so awesome on the first 2 full-lengths with this album.

2: They did a 180 and discovered that new school death metal is cooler than old school death metal.

3: They got rid of Dan Swanö, lost what made them great in the
process, brought in 62 new guys in the band and managed to cook up this
album somewhere in between.

It sounds like I am going to bash the fucken cocklight out of
Bloodbath, but I’m not. This is a mighty fine display of modern death
metal – but it wouldn’t have been a mistake to change the bandname after
Dan was booted. The sound and the spirit of old Bloodbath obviously
died with his departure. Nonetheless, “The fathomless mastery” is a great death metal album – let’s just pretend it says something else in the logo and we will be able to appreciate it even more.

5: Coldworker: Rotting paradise

The main problem with blasting death/grind bands is that they
focus on (duh) blasting death/grind. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some
blasts, but usually there’s like 10 songs too many of the same style
when it comes to this specific genre and any given album in question. It
all becomes a mess as it’s grind and speed all over the place, all the
time. In 1-3 minute songs. You could say that I get bored with it. Coz I
do. Coldworker’s worked around this problem a little with their second album.
By adding more melody, depth and heaviness to the material they are
making it more memorable in the end. Smart thinking. They still sport a
shit moniker though. But what it some down to is that Coldpenis
definitely did the fifth best album of 2008.

Last off I wanna give an honorable mention to Hail Of Bullets’ “…Of frost and war”, which missed this list just by a cock hair.

Major disappointment of 2008:

Illdisposed: The prestige

Everything released after “1-800 Vindication” proves it;
Illdisposed’s lost what they once had and now release nothing but
incredibly fucken weak albums. It’s a shame to see a band go down the
shitter this fast.

Ufomammut: Idolum 1. Ufomammut: Idolum

Kampfar (Somewhat in charge):

Hellectric and fucking heavy to the max, be sure I love this album.

2: Aura Noir: Hades rise

Darkthrone is preoccupied sounding like shit, Aura Noir, on the
other hand, rips you up and then infect your wounds with shit. That’s a
huge fucking difference, folks, and one that makes “Hades rise”
mandatory for every last idiot into proper black thrash. Just like “Dark
thrones and black flags” isn’t.

3: Phazm: Cornerstone of the macabre

In my review I claimed this to be the album of the year, so why
isn’t it at the top then? Well, the dudes from Phazm happened to answer
an interview I sent their way in such a lazy-ass manner, I had no other
option than to delete and forget all about it. This made me pissed,
hence why I’m taking out one of the meekest revenges in the history of
man. Fuck you guys, but yer album is still fucking it. And by it, I
mean: an excellent ride of exciting extreme metal. Excited yet?

4: Moho: Chotacabra

Why I haven’t done a review on this band, got it recommended by a
forumer months ago, is far beyond me. It could have something to do
with all shit albums sent in the general direction of GD, hadn’t it been
for the fact that yours truly haven’t reviewed the lot, not even close.
So, fuck me. In fact, fuck me prostate-exploding Chuck Norris hard,
Moho is namely an excellent Spanish band. And that hasn’t happened
before. Seriously, prior to Moho, I hadn’t heard a fantastic band
hailing said shores. Good ones, sure, but not this good. Not even close.
Oh, Moho performs stoner/sludge wrapped in a exquisite sound. Warm and
fuzzy, packing a punch at it. I love “Chotacabra”, but in it’s place I
could just have well put Herem’s “Pulsa diNura”, another excellent band
and album I have yet to do a review on. Pathetic.

5: Hebosagil: Colossal

Where the fuck is Hail Of Bullets you might wonder. And I do
too. Anyway, “Colossal” is an immense album, one rapidly spurting sparks
and fumes into your face whilst molesting your body. Yep, a proper
exaggeration there, but get hold of it and crank the volume if you are
up for a rumble with lots and lots of groove added. Heaviest album
speaking 2008? I think so.

Major disappointment of 2008:

Total war didn’t break out, nor were there any new, exciting
diseases, aka pandemics, on the menu. Let’s hope 2009 changes all that!
And Metallica released a new album.

Opeth: Watershed 1. Opeth: Watershed

The Abyss (writer):

There’s no doubt about it, Opeth has done a brilliant, vibrant
album that lovingly nurtures all those special traits that make the
band’s sound unique. At the same time Mike and Co. infuses some new
elements and ideas into the mix to keep Opeth from going stale. While
“Ghost reveries” was ok but kinda limping, “Watershed” shows a band that
has rid itself of all doubts and questions and are firmly confident at
their craft, and why not? They’ve made the best album of the year,
haven’t they?

2: Grand Magus: Iron will

Close on the heels of the top spot are Sweden’s Grand Magus. A
band that from their doom-origins has added the power and drive of
classic heavy metal into something that could very well be the
love-child of Accept and Cathedral that probably wasn’t meant to be.
Nonetheless, “Iron will” doesn’t have a dead second and if you don’t dig
this you’re probably not worthy as a fan anyway.

3: Cult of Luna: Eternal kingdom

By now the band are veterans and know how to chisel out metallic
post-hardcore monoliths in their sleep. What really makes “Eternal
kingdom” one of Cult of Luna’s best albums is the perfect balance
between all the instruments and vocals. Nothing is glaringly out of
place and every instrument is allowed to take the place it needs,
depending on the moment. Rydberg’s screaming is still a bit monotonous
but I’m starting to regard him like Jens Kidman of Meshuggah, who mainly
use his voice as a percussion instrument. They’ll never be Sinatra, and
bless ‘em for it.

4: Meshuggah: ObZen

After seemingly having drifted off-course since “Chaosphere”,
Meshuggah have surely but slowly done their best to remember how to
write interesting songs with a beginning, a middle and an end. After
realizing they simply lost the ability they apparently settled for
second best; namely making sure the hypnotic, sledgehammer-deluxe sound
that they’ve patented is as well-written and filled with good riffs as
possible. Fuck song-structures. “ObZen” might not sound that different
from any other Meshuggah-stuff but take a close listen, there’s a lot of
details and time invested in it.

5: Moloken: We all face the dark alone

On a fifth but honorable place on my Best Of 2008 list is a
small doomcore band from Umeå with a measly 15 min EP. But what a
fucking EP! The bass line that starts the song has been going around in
my head more times than I can count, and I’m ashamed to say it – but I
still haven’t gotten the hang of how to play it. While a 15 min long
song might not be what you typically associate with the word “catchy”,
it’s how I best describe Moloken’s debut. That and “abrasive”. There’s
both acid and honey to be found here, as well as desperate screaming and
a heaviness that would be devastating, even without the awesome, gritty
production. Definitely the biggest surprise of 2008, but also the most
welcome.

Major disappointment of 2008:

Ayreon: 01011001

I could say that Metallica’s “Death magnetic” was this year’s
biggest disappointment – but that would imply that I had any hope for
the old geezers to begin with. No, the biggest letdown of 2008 is
probably Arjen Lucassen’s Ayreon-project. Granted, after the incredible
“The Human Equation” you could say that the expectations were higher
than a Cephalic Carnage member, but I don’t think anyone was expecting
quite such a boring album as “01011001”. I don’t know why it doesn’t
work. All the elements of classic Ayreon are there. The spacey,
pretentious storyline, the mix of folky melodies woven into progressive
metal, the stunning array of guest-musicians/singers. But for some
reason there’s not really the rock-solid songwriting and memorable tunes
I’ve come to expect from Arjen. A shame since I’ve loved everything
else by Ayreon.

Ayreon: 01011001 1. Ayreon: 01011001

Banesupper (ex-writer):

I’ve heard a lot of criticism hauled at this album. A general
sense of disappointment seems to be working its rounds among the
Ayreonauts. I don’t get that at all. As far as I’m concerned, this is
Ayreon’s finest album to date, besting the great-but-overrated “The
Human Equation”. The assembly of singers on “01011001” is impressive,
but it’s Arjen Lukassen’s songwriting that makes this album what it is.
Standout upon standout is this album’s nature, and that makes it the
best metal release of 2008.

2: Hollenthon: Opus magnum

Hollenthon took their sweet time getting this album out, but the
wait’s been worth it. “Opus Magnum” is Hollenthon’s most epic album to
date, and while I can’t say if it is their best, I can certainly say
that it is great. “Opus Magnum” sounds more focused than its
predecessors; it’s more streamlined, and the orchestral elements have
never been better integrated. And as always when they go for the ethnic
approach, Hollenthon score big time: “Misterium Babel” is one badass
Sumerian epic.

3: The Monolith Deathcult: Trivmvirate

I’ll be damned if these flying Dutchmen didn’t take me by
surprise. Industrial and death united in unholy matrimony, “Trivmvirate”
is crushing, melodious, bestial and haunting. Michiel Dekker said in an
interview with the esteemed metal site Global Domination that “We are
the missing link between the industrial and the brutal side of metal”.
It’s a bold statement, but it may not be that far off. Also, writing a
song about the Baath party scores them bonus points.

4: Pharaoh: Be gone

When I reviewed this album earlier this year I found it inferior
to predecessor “The Longest Night”. I’m no longer so sure. “Be Gone” is
a different record, but it is a damn fine one. The songs have
progressive undertones without reverting to redundant technicality. The
riffs are intelligent, and the drum patterns inventive. If guess if
you’re allergic to power metal this will provoke a reaction, but as far
as the genre goes, few bands have the balls of Pharaoh.

5: Crocell: The god we drowned

As one or two on GD will know, my brother is in this band. If
you think that makes me biased, you’re damn right. I hate the bastard.
But nonetheless, this is one fine record that Crocell have made for
themselves; angry, catchy, and with enough misplaced solos to make Grave
look like virtuosos. A few songs approach the cheesy, but a riff as
mean as the one in “Behind the Veil” have them excused. Well done, lads.

Major disappointment of 2008:

Bloodbath: The fathomless mastery

Bloodbath, dear Bloodbath, what the hell happened? From
“Resurrection Through Carnage” and “Nightmares Made Flesh” to
“Unblessing the Purity” to this? That’s one of the
fastest, most radical downward slopes in metal history. Bloodbath used
to write old-fashioned, mean-as-hell, catchy-as-Satan death metal, now
they’re all modern and bland. Not even the vocals do it for me.
Fathomless it is, mastery it is not.

Hour Of Penance: The vile conception 1. Hour Of Penance: The vile conception

The Duff (writer):

Hour of Penance were quite run-of-the-mill before this release,
and so for this album to take top-spot for 2008 means that it truly
kicks ass considering tech death is something I worship to no end and
over which I am thusly very meticulously critical; to think they’ve
added the often ruinous brutal element to the music only to better the
product (in no small part due to the killer vocals) means that we have a
true gem on our hands here – nothing is breaking the mould, but you
just don’t find bands that can write ten tracks of this style of music
and not have a dull moment or something that appears repetitive, making
“The Vile Misconception” one of the greats in my book and something I’ll
be spinning for years to come.

2: Ayreon: 01011001

I wasn’t expecting something to better “The Human Equation”, but
in darkening the music, musical prodigy Arjen Lucassen has at the very
least produced something that measures up handsomely alongside two of
prog’s most outstanding achievements, namely “The Electric Castle” and
the aforementioned, shattering all doubts of the man’s abilities. The
vocal performances on “01011001” are astounding, filled with an emotion
you can’t find easily; to think these exceptionally gifted individuals
would be fools to turn down a guest-appearance on one of Arjen’s works
speaks volumes of the man, yet the respect seems most definitely mutual,
something I believe responsible in getting the most out of those
performing – this is proven when someone as downcast as Jonas Renkse not
only holds his own against the all-powerful chords of vocalists such as
Daniel Gildenlöw, Jorn Lande and an array of female talent, but even
surpasses them.

3: Cult Of Luna: Eternal kingdom

The post-rock legends return with yet another breathtaking
affair, a concept album revolving around a very morbid tale of a mental
patient (whose grimoires were discovered by the band) and the murdering
of his wife by his own hands. This isn’t a return to form as such,
because the gain is turned pretty low throughout most of it, but the
riffs nonetheless speak for themselves. A great album by a band that has
yet to do wrong.

4: Rotten Sound: Cycles

This band has released its grind masterpiece with “Exit”, now
it’s just a case of honing their sound; the smoothening of the
production sure does miracles for this band, making “Cycles” just as
potent as its immediate predecessor by making up for the slight dip in
songwriting and diminishing hardcore metal ugly spirit and punk grind
rottenness. Rotten Sound are now one of the most consistent bands out
there, as the quality of the last three releases has been exceptional –
definitely music that’ll broaden the range of scowls you can throw at
the average, guiltless passer-by on the way to work.

5: Opeth: Watershed

Some people can’t stand this record, others adore it; I’m in the
latter camp, even if some of the death metal sections can seem a little
trite – they at the very least deliver and complement the proggy
leanings consituting the majority of the disc. I don’t have any qualms
with the almost entirely mellow approach, even if some of the cleaner
tracks don’t measure up too well against the band’s classic period,
named as such for a reason, so bitching ceases here; with “Watershed”,
Opeth have evolved into something very remarkable, and released an album
that is as complete as the greats “Still Life” and “Morningrise” – the
best album since the former, most definitely.

Major disappointment of 2008:

Enslaved: Vertebrae

I was going to put up Averse Sefira’s latest just to get (and
rape) Seker’s goat, but in all seriousness, the greatest Viking/black
metal band to have ever existed just didn’t cut the mustard on this
effort. An alternative would have been Origin’s “Antithesis” for the
most lackluster death metal “return to form” I’ve heard, but in truth,
this album here is replete with greatness, only too… grey? The
production was a very odd choice to have taken, as the music hits me in
the face with the force of a two-inch flaccid cock; also to be found are
bits and pieces where it sounds like the band is losing its momentum
and needed to fill space with hackneyed riffing. Still a good album, but
nothing comparable to what I’m used to given the last three absolutely
stellar outputs.

Flobots: Fight with tools 1. Flobots: Fight with tools

Angry Mutant Penguin (ex-writer):

No, this isn’t a metal album, but it is the best album I’ve
heard all year so you poor dears are gonna have to live with it taking
the top spot. Politically charged hip-hop with a backing of funk, jazz
and classical violin kinda seems an unlikely formula, but
against-the-odds music often turns out victorious, and this is a great
success of innovation. Catchy and yet inspiring, hard-hitting and yet
considered, energetic and yet smooth – Flobots have everything I want in
a band and a spectacular debut album in this one. I know not all of you
are pure die hard metalheads, so at least humour me and out the band
beyond their vaguely well known single, “Handlebars”.

2. Torture Division: With endless wrath we bring upon thee…

At the time of writing, the third demo isn’t yet finished –
hopefully by the time you read this it will be – nevertheless, the
eighteen and a half minutes of old school death metal we have had from J
and K and Tobias (who should change his name to L) shits all over
Bloodbath’s latest, so there’s a clear winner in the “old folks
pretending itis still 1991” genre. The opening seconds of “Ejaculation
of the Wicked” are enough to have the doubters eating their words, but
any one of these tracks is face stompingly brutal enough to earn Torture
Division the title of “second best album of the year”, even though they
didn’t actually release an album… Also, just to restore my metal-cred:
the first demo is better.

3. Enslaved: Vertebrae

God damn why haven’t I been listening to this more? Mayhem are
all dead, the Count is in prison, Emperor got lost in symphonic death
metal and split up, Immortal have been releasing the same album since
“At the Heart of Winter”, Darkthrone sound more like teenagers than when
they were teenagers and Gaahl is designing women’s
clothing – Enslaved are the only members of the black metal old-guard
left making decent music. It’s not entirely black metal; in fact it’s
barely metal at all for the most part, but the Pink Floyd formula really
suits them and “Vertebrae” takes the developments of “Ruun” to a new
and stunningly beautiful level.

4. The King Blues: Save the world, get the girl

Lets face it, metal today pretty much fails. I mean, I didn’t
mind “The Formation of Damnation” but there’s no way I’m lowering myself
to calling it one of the best albums of the year, and while Cynic’s
album may have been better than the first and even (possibly) enjoyable,
it’s still jazz wank. So it looks like the King Blues’ second album
will have to stay – even if it is full to the tits with ska and folk.
The band starts with a raw, mostly acoustic reggae sound, adds some dub,
and then gathers influences from bands like Flogging Molly and Gogol
Bordello ending up with a neat mix that comes close to sounding like
Billy Joel at times and the Clash at others. This is one of the bands I
follow when I’m not ranting on about death metal faggotry on this site –
so now you all know.

5. Psykup: We love you all

A recent addition, just clawing its way past AC/DC, I only heard
Psykup’s third album a couple of weeks ago but this psychotic French
circus of Dillinger Escape Plan riffs, mismatched harmonies and epic
songs is already proving (again) that garlic-land is where shit’s at.
This is the third album from a band that are pretty much totally
unknown, and I think Season of Mist are sort of selling it as an
international debut – even though in respect of the band’s other work
its somewhat of a turning point. Any band who lists Primus and Strapping
Young Lad as their top influences deserves some attention, anyway. I’m
tired of aimlessly filling space with shit I gleaned from the press
release though, just fucking listen to the album already. Probably the
prettiest cover of the year, too.

Major disappointment of 2008:

Arsis: We are the nightmare

Arsis’s debut ranks amongst my favourite albums of all time, and
their second effort left promise for a great career. “We Are the
Nightmare” pissed on that promise – annoyingly messy, uninspiringly
performed, awkward riffs… James Malone is a truly talented guitarist, an
impressive composer (he wrote most of the stuff on the band’s first
album aged 16) and an awesome vocalist, but whether it’s a loss of
originality or a set of rubbish musicians gathered around him, something
went wrong here and produced a shit album. (Dis)Honorable mention for
this award goes to Sabaton’s third album, but I kinda expected that to
suck.

Opeth: Watershed 1. Opeth: Watershed

Euthanatos (writer):

It would be inevitable to have an Opeth album released in a year
and me picking it to be among my favorites. Not that Opeth is always
perfect with their albums, but this one sure hit the mark for me, and
has every element that I hold dear in this one-of-a-kind band. I just
hope I’m not becoming one of those Metallica fanboys that will eat up
anything their favorite artists have to offer.

2. Enslaved: Vertebrae

Pretty much the epitome of extreme metal goodness, Enslaved have
reached such an absurd level of quality with their blend of aggressive
and progressive heavy music, it’s almost funny. Probably the best thing
since sliced bread, cake and contraceptives.

3. Cynic: Traced in air

Cynic’s first, and for the longest time only album, made me piss
my pants when I first heard it, and throughout the years I have never
gotten enough of it. When their long overdue sophomore came around, I
guess it was only natural that, particularly now in my geriatric state, I
would piss myself even more. Sure, it doesn’t hold the same punch to
the balls, because the novelty factor is no more, but it’s still a
beauty of a record.

4. Amon Amarth: Twilight of the thunder god

To be completely honest, I didn’t think this album was as good
as the previous one. Maybe I haven’t listened to it carefully enough, or
maybe I’m just turning queer. Alas, no matter what, these guys will
always be my favorite Viking metal act, even though the type of metal
they perform is much closer to some sort of death metal hybrid. But no
one sounds as genuine as them when singing about Norse mythology, and,
at least to me, it’s impossible to listen to Amon Amarth and not think
of a glacial atmosphere, great drakkars cutting through the frozen sea,
and drunken warriors ready to pillage and rape Christians. Ah, the days
of old.

5. Testament: The formation of damnation

Although I have always been swinging gaily from Slayer’s nuts,
no band has ever had a greater comeback than Testament. First of all,
they destroyed the world with “The Gathering”, and to anyone who thought
it was just a one-off thing, “The formation of damnation” proves that
lightning does strike twice. Brutal thrash metal with killer riffs and
Chuck being the vocal god he has always been. Sign me up any day.

Major disappointment of 2008:

Volbeat: Guitar gangsters & Cadillac blood

I know you were expecting something like Metallica or The
Haunted here. The thing is, I never expected those bands to astound me
with their new albums. I was pretty sure they were going to release
crap, and lo and behold, they indulged me. Volbeat, on the other hand,
I’ve only know from very recent years (the band is fairly new itself),
but I had already become a fan, listening tirelessly to “Rock the rebel,
metal the devil”. So what the hell happened here? I’ll tell you what;
Volbeat lost their balls, decided to cash in on the little success they
had, and released a stale, uninspired, boring piece of shit album. I was
truly distraught at how the mighty had fallen. Oh, well, shit happens.

Hebosagil: Collosal 1. Hebosagil: Collosal

The Prophet (writer):

Do you know what you get if you’d put two fucking millstones on
your turntable whilst playing a scratchy old Black Sabbath LP? You’d get
the best album of 2008, motherfucker. “Colossal” is the kind of album
that affects the Richter scale. The kind of album that makes the
wrinkles disappear from Granny’s face if she sits sufficiently close to
the speakers. The kind of album that convinces Al-Qaida that the job is
already done. The kind of album that simply walks into Mordor. In
conclusion, the kind of fucking album that pulverizes all competition in
the race for album of the year.

2: Facebreaker: Dead, rotten and hungry

In the absence of a really good black metal release, death metal
really got its time to shine this year. And shine it did, or perhaps
not shine, shiny is gay… No, do you know what death metal did in 2008?
It ate your fucking brains, is what! Facebreaker’s rotting corpse
extravaganza is a monument of pungent flesh and clotted blood, mixed
with regurgitated brain substance. If you can imagine what that sounds
like, “Dead, Rotten and Hungry” is definitely for you.

3: Gojira: The way of all flesh

Finally, Gojira released the masterpiece we all knew they had in
them. Their earlier albums have been good, at times terrific, but it
seemed like there were always a couple of fillers to drag down the
overall impression. Not this time though, “The Way of All Flesh” is
top-notch quality through and through, and now I finally understand why
the Japanese are so fucking afraid of these guys…

4: Lifelover: Konkurs

Lifelover manages to improve on every single point with
“Konkurs”, we got better vocals, better songwriting, better riffs and
better lyrics. If you want to make this year your last and end your
miserable existence, this is your soundtrack. “Mentral central dialog”
is the best song of 2008!

5: Earth: And the bees made honey in the lions’ skull

Earth do not have lyrics in their songs. I wish I could describe
this without text as well… Duuuuuuuun-duuuuuun-dun-duuuuuuuuuuuuuun,
da-da-da duuun-duuuuuuuuun…

Major disappointment of 2008:

Slipknot: All hope is gone

Not really a disappointment, because I didn’t have that high
expectations to start with. Instead, “All Hope is Gone” get to be the
symbol of Slipknot’s decline finally hitting rock bottom. Gone is not
only all hope, but also everything that made the band interesting and in
the first place; the deranged, nihilistically surrealistic lyrics, the
uncompromising yet catchy riffage, the intense energy of the songs and
finally, Corey Taylor sounds nothing like what he used to. Instead of
roaring like a skewered rhinoceros, we now get just another angsty young
man lamenting the unfairness of life and sometimes switching to generic
metalcore screaming.

Misery Index: Traitors 1. Misery Index: Traitors

InquisitorGeneralis (writer):

Absolutely brutal but a solid progression from earlier efforts.
These guys are at the top of their grind/death game and this album is
quality from beginning to end. Not one single weak track on here.
“Thrown into the sun” and “Occupation” are killer fucking songs.

2: Psycroptic: (ob)Servant

This album’s technicality is tuned down just enough to make it
perfect. The best Psycroptic release yet. Only “The Scepter of
Jaar-Gilon” tops “Horde in divulution” from this as the top ‘croptic
track.

3: Gojira: The way of all flesh

A quality release from beginning to end. Gojira hold up to high
expectations. The production is awesome, the songs are catchy, and the
lyrics are interesting. A solid package.

4: Vader: XXV

I dissed this a little in my review but as far as this year’s
output it still beats the shit out of alot of other crap from 2008.
Vader does rule and besides the cover tunes at the end this is chock
full of good songs.

5: Slipknot: All hope is gone

Slipknot stick to thier guns in the wake of thier most popular release and deliver and constitent and suprisingly heavy album.

Major disappointment of 2008:

Metallica: Death magnetic

No matter how hard they try they just can not capture the old sound. No need for any more new albums.

Facebreaker: Dead, rotten and hungry 1. Facebreaker: Dead, rotten and hungry

Bobby Peru (ex-writer):

Facebreaker, which by the way is a great moniker, burned my soul
to a crisp with “Dead Rotten and Hungry”. I actually liked their
previous effort “Bloodred Hell” a lot, and I listened to it daily for
quite some time. I haven’t heard it once since I got this fucker, which
should give you an idea of just how fucken great this one actually is.
What the fuck growler Robban ever did in Devian, or what the fuck he’s
doing in Scar Symmetry, is an enigma since Facebreaker pisses on them
both. Not only do they piss on them, they piss on all. At least this
year.

2: Grand Magus: Iron will

Grand Magus took me by storm with “Iron Will”, a storm that blew
me back to that time when heavy metal was something precious and
untarnished. A great production, terrific songwriting and a voice that
anyone, with even the slightest interest in heavy metal, envies earns
“Iron Will” a spot at my number two.

3: Hail Of Bullets: …Of frost and war

To sound dead is what growling should be all about. Nobody
sounds more so than Martin van Drunen and when singing about the
millions who died in World War II nothing could be more soothing (Nice
rhyme there Bobby, keep it up). Great lyrics perfectly fitted along
quality songwriting, gives Hail of Bullets´”…of Frost and War” a truly
chilling and unique atmosphere. One of the best concept albums in years,
and by far the best of 2008.

4: Bloodbath: The fathomless mastery

I’ve never cared much for Bloodbath. I have done the MySpace and
YouTube thing without getting impressed. Then a friend of mine told me
to do it once more, and I heard “Mock the Cross”. To record as song like
that is a statement, stating that Morbid Angel probably is the best
death metal band ever, and that “Where the Slime Live” probably is the
best death metal song ever. I don’t agree and I seriously doubt that
Morbid Angel’s next release will be as good as this one. This album just
oozes of quality and blasphemy. Åkerfeldts top notch articulate
growling is the perfect icing, on this perhaps too perfect cake.

5: Coldworker: Rotting paradise

Coldworker, which by the way is a shitty moniker, wrote/stole
one of the worst and misplaced riffs of 2008. That they still managed to
make my top five should tell you something about the rest of them. What
almost pushed them out is that fucken chorus in “Citizens of the
Cyclopean Maze”. That one is as misplaced as a Ralph Santolla solo in
Deicide, which should tell you something about how horrendous it is. Not
only is it misplaced and bloody awful, it’s dishonest. The fact that
that song was the first tune they previewed upon this release makes that
even clearer. I could go on and on about that fucker, but I’ll leave it
for now. All and all “Rotting Paradise” is a fine album that displays
speed and intensity without ever losing that important groove. But if
they ever again even come near a riff like that I’ll never listen to
them again, and that’s a promise.

Major disappointment of 2008:

Deicide: Till death do us part

Surprise, surprise – Deicide’s “Till Death Do Us Part” is the major disappointment of 2008. Read my review “; add a bunch of negative adjectives and adverbs. Knock three points off and you know why.

Gojira: The way of all flesh 1. Gojira: The way of all flesh

Baalzamon666 (writer):

Love at first listen, “The Way of All Flesh” is the latest
outburst of French frog groove metal of death with a conscience, simply a
juggernaut of an album crushing everything on its path. The production
is monstrous, the songs catchy, violent and thought-provoking, the
lyrics fucken awesome, and the amalgamation of influences, ideas and
experimentation that they manage to squeeze into it are fucken
staggering. Gojira have become the flag-bearers of an increasingly
healthy French metal scene, a band possessing the technique, the
aggression and the excellent songwriting skills required to make their
particular style work wonderfully. From now on, they will have to be
considered one of the best bands in the metal world of today.

2. Septic Flesh: Communion

I’m glad these talented Greek demons decided, as they put it,
that the path of the flesh was not completely explored. “Communion” is
one hell of a comeback, the best I’ve witnessed in the last few years.
This is how any band intending to reunite should return: all guns fucken
blazing, making a statement of intent to destroy! This record has the
best elements that made Septic Flesh such an enigmatic and powerful band
in the past, linking to perfection with fresh ideas that seem to be the
mark of their present. “Communion” has infernal aggression and
intensity, intelligent songwriting and finesse, and I can’t ask for more
when choosing my blackened death metal. Hopefully this is a sign of
even greater things to come.

3. Moonspell: Night eternal

As they get older, Fernando and his band of evil doers seem to
get wiser, meaner and stronger than ever. “Night Eternal” is another
great album in their long career that powerfully showcases their ability
to create atmospheric and sinister tracks where beauty collides with
violence in the most chilling manner. I’m listening to this record and I
can’t help but feel immersed in the sometimes subtle, sometimes raging
darkness that Moonspell calls home. This is another highly inspired and
malevolent ode to the surreal, elegant, crafty and sharp, sporting quite
a few brilliant songs. I’m fucken impressed, and happy to see Moonspell
continues to be top of their dark metal genre.

4. Amon Amarth: Twilight of the thunder god

I didn’t think Amon Amarth would be able to get anywhere near
“With Oden on Our Side”. I was fucken wrong, and I’m OK with that, you
know? This is just as good, yet another slab of the most EPIC
motherfucken Viking death metal ever done. Raise yer swords and axes,
unfurl the bloody banners, oil yer penises and pack some Viagra, jump
onto the mighty dragon-ships, ready to inflict some extreme murder,
rape, pony-rape and pillaging into the unsuspecting Christian weaklings!
This album is just fucken huge in every aspect: a great many fiery
songs with plenty of speed, brutality and horns-up,
pump-yer-fist-in-the-air moments, larger-than-life riffs, vociferous
growls and precise drumming, and their best cover art in fucken ages to
boot. Ice, fire, dragons, blood and fucken death!!!

5. Testament: The formation of damnation

After waiting 8 long fucken years for a follow up to “The
Gathering”, this was better good. Good news is it actually kicks all
sorts of midget ass! Testament proves with “The Formation of Damnation”
that they’re still masters of their craft, and are yet able to thrash
with the same passion and ability of their golden years. I had really
missed those blazing solos from guitar god Skolnick; his return to metal
is much welcomed and I’m glad to hear he hasn’t lost his knack for
playing intelligent guitar lines. Billy roars in great style,
Patterson’s riffs are as sharp as ever, while Christian and Bostaph
display great dynamics on the rhythm section. Hell, I’ve had that
“Dangers of the Faithless” song stuck in my head for the longest time!
All in all, a great return from one of thrash’s forefathers, a sure sign
of future chaos to come!

Major disappointment of 2008:

Iced Earth: The crucible of man

I was afraid this could happen, and seeing my fears confirmed is
certainly sad. One of my favorite bands is in decline, or to be more
precise, has been on a steady downward spiral for the last few years,
and it looks like their inspiration is not returning any time soon. Matt
Barlow, one of the best heavy metal vocalists ever, has returned to the
band, but not even he can save these songs from mediocrity. The chief
creative force, a clearly deluded Jon Schaeffer, has almost completely
lost the plot now, and I’m seriously starting to wonder if there’s a way
back for Iced Earth or not. The album is lacking sorely on speed and
aggression, and could have definitely used some variation. Despite
having some decent songs and ideas from time to time, the overall
feeling of disappointment is unavoidable.

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This entry was posted on June 20, 2014 by in Verdicts 06-13.
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